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States want crackdown on fake service animals

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Service dog

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — People who falsely pass off their pets as service animals have frustrated people with legitimate needs to such an extent that legislators in several states are considering laws to restore the animals’ credibility.

Legislatures in Maine, Virginia, Arizona, Hawaii, New York and Puerto Rico are considering bills that would either establish such a program or penalize people who fraudulently claim to have service dogs.

In Maine, a task force this month issued a report that said well-meaning federal laws designed to protect people with disabilities have instead opened the door to fraud.

Some lawmakers want to weed out the fakers by giving people with disabilities the option of obtaining a state-issued card that verifies their animal is a service dog.